Legion World Series to be televised

Together, The American Legion and the Shelby (N.C.) Baseball World Series Committee have inked a five-year contract that will expand the viewership of the American Legion World Series (ALWS) to nearly 80 million viewers. Starting with the 2014 ALWS, the championship game will be televised live by ESPNU. The last time a Legion World Series championship game was live on TV was 35 years ago in Greenville, Miss.

All games leading up to the championship event will still be live streamed on ESPN3. And to accommodate the championship game TV coverage, the ALWS tournament schedule is changing from a double elimination format to pool play.

With the pool play format, each team is guaranteed to play up to three games. There will be two pools (A and B) of four teams each; the teams will play each other in their respective pools for the first three days of the ALWS, Aug. 14-17. The semifinals will be Aug. 18, where the winner of Pool A will play the runner-up of Pool B and the winner of Pool B will play the runner-up of Pool A. The two overall winners will play in the ALWS championship game on Aug. 19.

The ALWS championship game TV coverage also allows for several 30-second advertising spots for The American Legion and Shelby.

Events surrounding the ALWS include live performances by country music artist Rodney Atkins, singer-songwriter Corey Smith and The Charlie Daniels Band.

Atkins will perform during the Celebration of Champions event held for Legion Baseball players, their families and the community on Aug. 13 at 8 p.m. at Keeter Stadium. Atkins' debut release, "If You're Going Through Hell," awarded him Top New Male Vocalist in 2006 from the Academy of Country Music. The album spawned four top singles. His most recent albums, "It's America" and "Take a Back Road," earned him his fifth and sixth No. 1 hits.

Tickets for the concert are $25 apiece and go on sale April 30. Click here to purchase tickets.

Smith will be the main headliner for Shelby's second annual 7th Inning Stretch Festival, held Aug. 9 in Uptown Shelby court square from 3 - 10:30 p.m. Smith is a guitarist who combines rock and blues with his country, and his most popular songs include “Twenty One,” “If I Could Do It Again” and “I Love Everyone.” Besides a performance by Smith and other local musicians, the festival’s activities include a 5k run/walk, a children’s play area, street entertainers, food vendors, a corn hole tournament, arts and crafts and live music. The 5k registration fees will be donated toward The American Legion's National Emergency Fund.

Click here to visit the 7th Inning Stretch Festival website for more information.

And The Charlie Daniels Band will perform during the National Commander's Reception on Aug. 12 at the LeGrand Center. The band is known for its song "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." The reception is for American Legion leadership and sponsors of the ALWS.